I attended a webinar today. Typical 60-minute duration, promising tips on best practices for webinars. At the ten-minute mark, I tweeted my frustration that the presenter was still speaking in the future tense, telling us what we would be getting to later. At the twelve-minute mark, the presenter used the phrase “Before we get started, I want to…”
This is unacceptable. You have a brief window of opportunity to engage your audience, reassure them that you know why they have showed up and start delivering the actual value you promised in your invitation. Maybe, just maybe, you can get away with spending two or three minutes of lead-in (although it’s better if you don’t). At ten minutes of introduction and agenda scanning, your audience has stopped listening. You might be able to recapture their focus and attention again once you start providing the information they expected, but why not just do that from the start?
There is never, EVER any justification for using the phrase “Before we get started.” The moment you begin speaking, you have started. Once that phrase leaves your mouth, you have just admitted to your audience that everything preceding it was wasted time and not a part of the webinar content you had promised. Not only that, but it simultaneously signals that the NEXT thing out of your mouth is not a part of the webinar either. Why should they care about it? What an astonishing way to position yourself and your webinar!
Your audience knows why they are present. They didn’t just happen to be scanning the radio dial and trip across your webinar by accident. Your invitation, landing page/registration page, confirmation email, and reminder emails all communicated the topic and the value proposition for attending. That is the only reason people registered and showed up. So skip the introduction… Get to the information.